Monday, December 18, 2006

Experience on QoS in Internet2 

One argument by telcos why NGN and IMS is required is that there is no QoS on the Internet.

Internet2 is a not-for-profit partnership of 208 universities, 70 companies, and 51 affiliated organizations, including some federal agencies and laboratories. The mission is to advance the state of the Internet, primarily by operating a very advanced, private, ultra-high-speed research and education network called Abilene. By providing very high speed pipes – 10,000 times faster than home broadband, in our backbone – Abilene enables the members to try new uses of the network, develop new applications and experiment with new forms of communications.

Gary R. Bachula, the Vice-President of Internet2, stated at the hearing on Net Neutrality before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Sience and Transportation regarding QoS:

Our experience. Having deployed an advanced broadband network to over five million users for some seven years now, we at Internet2 believe our experience will interest Congress as you consider important telecommunications legislation.

We are aware that some providers argue against net neutrality, saying that they must give priority to certain kinds of Internet bits, such as video, in order to assure a high quality experience for their customer. Others argue that they want to use such discrimination among bits as a basis for a business model. Let me tell you about our experience at Internet.

When we first began to deploy our Abilene network, our engineers started with the assumption that we should find technical ways of prioritizing certain kinds of bits, such as streaming video, or video conferencing, in order to assure that they arrive without delay. For a number of years, we seriously explored various "quality of service" schemes, including having our engineers convene a Quality of Service Working Group. As it developed, though, all of our research and practical experience supported the conclusion that it was far more cost effective to simply provide more bandwidth. With enough bandwidth in the network, there is no congestion and video bits do not need preferential treatment. All of the bits arrive fast enough, even if intermingled.

Today our Abilene network does not give preferential treatment to anyone’s bits, but our users routinely experiment with streaming HDTV, hold thousands of high quality two-way video conferences simultaneously, and transfer huge files of scientific data around the globe without loss of packets.

We would argue that rather than introduce additional complexity into the network fabric, and additional costs to implement these prioritizing techniques, the telecom providers should focus on providing Americans with an abundance of bandwidth – and the quality problems will take care of themselves.

For example, if a provider simply brought a gigabit Ethernet connection to your home, you could connect that to your home computer with only a $15 card. If the provider insists on dividing up that bandwidth into various separate pipes for telephone and video and internet, the resulting set top box might cost as much as $150. Simple is cheaper. Complex is costly.

A simple design is not only less expensive: it enables and encourages innovation.
Nothing to add. Keep It Simple, Stupid is still valid.

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